International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said the organization is now willing to consider bids from cities where the venues may be separated by thousands of miles or even international borders.
In an effort to reduce costs and increase the number of potential cities that could host the Winter Games, Bach said the IOC won’t require bids to produce a compact and cohesive plan for all events, citing Quebec City as an example of a former bid city that struggles to come up with an adequate site for downhill skiing.
He added that the IOC wouldn’t object to a plan that staged ice events in Quebec City but put downhill skiing events far away. The capital of Quebec has had a long time interest in hosting the Winter Olympic Games but there are no nearby slopes that meet FIS requirements for international events. New Agenda 2020 standards that emphasize sustainability would allow Quebec to partner with ski venues in Whistler, near Calgary or even in Lake Placid, USA as examples.
Bach said, “the concept is you have a bid city, and then the mountains.”
Four European cities dropped their bids for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games for various political and economic reasons, leaving the IOC with a choice between only Almaty and Beijing, the latter winning the election to host the Games.
Agenda 2020 is seen as an opportunity to expand the bidding field by providing cities with more options to organize the Games where they couldn’t before.
Bach is currently in New York after addressing the United Nations on sport as an “important enabler” for sustainable development.
On Friday the United Nations General Assembly adopted the post-2015 Development Agenda.
Bach said “It shows that with Olympic Agenda 2020 we are aligned with the United Nations post-2015 Development Agenda. This new UN Agenda specifically acknowledges the important role that sport plays promoting healthy lifestyles, education and social inclusion.”
Paragraph 37 of “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” reads: “Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development. We recognise the growing contribution of sport to the realisation of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives.”